all words: Ryma Chikhoune
all photos: Shauna Alexander
Here’s the thing – The Kooks would be nothing without Luke Pritchard.
All eyes were on the charismatic lead singer, as he dominated the stage with his presence at a sold-out 9:30 Club on Sunday night.
The band kicked off the show with “Is It Me,” the first single off their latest record Junk of the Heart, released in September.
“WE LOVE YOU LUKE,” echoed the predominately female crowd. They were completely captivated by him, screaming, squealing, and singing along to every word, as he bounced around in his fitted skinny jeans and loose black tee.
The Kooks make music that seems destined for mass appeal. It’s easy to understand the allure it has on young women. It’s simple: they’re sweet, catchy, ‘60s influenced Brit-pop love songs with heartfelt lyrics. And Pritchard, with his distinctive voice, sex appeal, and high energy, is the frontman for the job.
We first met the band as a foursome in 2006, when they broke into mainstream with their debut Inside In/Inside Out, a record that went four-times platinum within a year in the UK. Vocalist and guitarist Luke Pritchard, lead guitarist Hugh Harris, bassist Max Rafferty, and drummer Paul Garred, who had all met as students at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, would be signed to Virgin Records just three months after they formed in 2003.
The original lineup remained until 2008, and for some time, Pritchard and Harris became the only two original members in the band; Garred left (but returned in 2011) due to a nerve problem in his arm, following Rafferty, who was replaced by Peter Denton.
Sunday, The Kooks performed a mix of songs from all three records, but satisfied fans by largely playing tracks from Inside In/Inside Out, their most popular record to date. We heard “Sofa Song,” “Ooh La,” “Seaside,” and “She Moves In Her Own Way.” From their second release Konk (2008), they played crowd favorites like “Shine” and “Always Where I Need To Be.” The audience showed less enthusiasm for newer songs like “Rosie” and “Runaway,” but cheered and sang along to every word of newest single “Junk of the Heart (Happy).”
The band would finish on a high note with their most popular song, “Naïve,” the first single off their debut. Soon, it was over, and in the end, you could hear a hundred sighs, as Pritchard sang his last note, thanked the crowd, and made his way off stage.
Oh, and The Postelles opened.
Overheard: The group killed it with every song; the retro rock and roll mixed with British pop sounds was remarkable. I was in awe at all the feel good vibes coming from this bands set, and the crowd who was singing and dancing along with every single song. The more I speculated on my surroundings the more familiar it all started to seem.
I finally put my finger on it realizing that the bands set and the spirit of the crowd reminded me of the scene in the movie Clueless, where the Mighty Mighty Bosstones performed at a college frat party. Needless to say The Postelles were an amazing band to see live and the camaraderie amongst the fans was unbeatable.